Vol 33 | No 1 | Fall 14
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Generous Gift Makes Professor J. Hillis Miller Papers Available

ImageThe Critical Theory Archive attracts scholars from around the world looking to study the personal papers of some of the greatest thinkers of the twentieth century. In July 2013, Alexandra Bisio was hired as Processing Archivist for the Critical Theory Archive on a two-year contract that was generously funded by library benefactor Dr. Rosalyn M. Laudati. Alexandra's primary goal in this position has been to make some of the most intellectually rich collections in the Archive easier to access and explore.

Over the past year, Alexandra's time has been chiefly devoted to cataloging the papers of J. Hillis Miller, a world-renowned literary critic and UCI Distinguished Professor of Comparative Literature and English. He is best known as a member of the well-known Yale School of deconstruction, which included Jacques Derrida, Paul de Man, Harold Bloom, and Geoffrey Hartman.

"It may not be all that important to people studying deconstruction that Hillis had pet cats, loved to hike and sail, or quoted George Eliot's Middlemarch at his daughter's wedding reception, but each of those little details has made me smile."
Scholars of nineteenth-century literature and deconstruction will be thrilled to find nearly 80 boxes full of Miller's stream-of-consciousness journals and notes, 29 tomes of literary criticism, correspondence, unpublished works, as well as some family papers and personal mementos. "While I appreciate that it's an academic treasure trove," says Alexandra, "I think I have enjoyed the personal touches sprinkled throughout the collection most of all. It may not be all that important to people studying deconstruction that Hillis had pet cats, loved to hike and sail, or quoted George Eliot's Middlemarch at his daughter's wedding reception, but each of those little details has made me smile."

The Critical Theory Archive is a highly unique collection that reflects the innovation and leadership in the field of critical theory at UCI and beyond. Alexandra hopes that her work in the Archive will be valuable for both Special Collections and scholars of Critical Theory.

For further information, please contact Alexandra Bisio, Processing Archivist for the Critical Theory Archive (x45753 or abisio@uci.edu).